Most of the names have gotten out by now, but little scenes, watched from across the newsroom, fill in the blanks. The home and design writer arrives with an empty cardboard box, here to pick up her things. She got word late Tuesday. Same with the fine arts editor. "I'm not sure what's next," he says, working his way past five writers. Each one one hugs him. "I'm getting the hell out of here," says a columnist. And she's actually staying. She was venting. Everyone's venting.
There are 68 members of the Inquirer newsroom being laid off. Jobs were found for another five - four at Philly.com, and one caught on with the Daily News. Some editors called in their people for closed-door sessions. Other learned by phone after work. Appointments were made with in human resources, attended by both those laid off and those who had to lay them off.
At the same time, little bursts of noise draw crowds around those whose positions were somehow saved. There's a lot of talk around the place today of survivor's guilt.
I talked to a journalism class at Temple last week about electronic information-gathering, and asked about their blog-reading habits. I was impressed by how many said they don't have time to read blogs (It was as if I had asked for a show of hands, "Who reads porn?")
Yet most acknowledged a more-than-passing familiarity with Perez Hilton, the bold-faced blogger born Mario Lavandeira, who crows about running "Hollywood's Most Hated Web Site!"
Premiere Magazine picks the 20 Most Over-rated films. How could have they have missed 2001? a Throwing Things reader asks.
Atlantic Magazine picks the 100 most influential Americans. Lots of people you find on bills and coins. But ... "Lists are for groceries," write David & Barbara on the Atlantic's Web site, wondering about the value of any list in which Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Martha Stewart, Chuck Berry and Hef got votes.
Is this real? The Huffington Post says it's a memo from a Fox News exec, telling journalists to watch for any mention from the Iraq insurgency that things will be better under the Democrats. It assures that the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Republican loss of both houses don't signal "the end of the world."
The whole thing's a good read. It appears to be from the desk of News VP John Moody.
Huffington Post readers are in a huff about it.
It's been the high holidays for disinformation around here - 150 newsroom layoffs? Our editor on the outs? We're in labor negotiations, I keep saying. These new owners are throwing high and inside. And then something even more unbelievable spreads - Bill Marimow spotted in the building on a day the publisher has called a staff meeting.
This one you could bank on. After lunch we gathered once again in the newsroom, and there was Marimow, the Inquirer's two-time Pulitzer winner for reporting on police misconduct, a son of Philadelphia and symbol of the glory days, standing where we've spent much of the past few years shooing away ghosts, saying difficult times lie ahead, but so does the opportunity for great work.
"We've fallen down the rabbit hole," the reporter next to me whispered. Or as another said, "Everything old is new again." Surreal.
Stephen Morse, a columnist at the Daily Pennsylvanian struck first on Oct. 12 with a video interview of Dan Savage, author of the nationally syndicated Savage Love column. Savage, in town to talk to the Philadelphians Against Santorum, gave the University of Pennsylvania senior "by far the most insane interview that I've ever conducted."
Speaking of the Green Party candidate who, until being kicked off the ballot, was poised to help Republicans by bleeding votes from Democratic Senatorial candidate Bob Casey, Savage said:
In addition to its Saturday place, Blinq will run midweek down the right column of the daily Magazine section's Page 2, near the redesigned Herr Dr. Newsmakers, now known as Sideshow with Tirdad Derakhshani. I'll alternate with Michael Klein, whose INQlings column will be printed on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I don't believe in making fun of people's ages, but when Philebrity writes a headline for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., visiting the offices of KYW Radio, and pronounces him "bewildered to find that the sound of clacking typewriters is actually a recording," doesn't Philebrity mean Teletype machines?
These used to be staples of the newsroom. Even banished in a closet behind padded doors, these AP/UPI monsters still made more noise than a deadline poet whose kicker got bitten from the bottom.